7 Answers to Your Burning Questions About Downtown

Hal Bastian of the Downtown Center Business Improvement District does the fielding
Doesn’t this whole area have a reputation for being a ghost town after dark?

“There was an adage that when downtown empties out at 7 p.m., they might as well roll up the sidewalks, and for a long time we were guilty as charged. But now it’s a vibrant place at night. There were 18,000 downtown residents in 1998. Today there are 45,000.”

OK,  more people are here, but Is downtown any safer?
“We have eight Business Improvement Districts in the area, all with security patrols on the street. There are also so many people on the street—and thousands of dogs. Morning, noon, and night, people are outside walking their dogs.”

What’s your pitch for moving downtown?
“It’s a great time because the foundation has been laid. The amenities—the grocery stores, the pharmacies, the shoe repair places, and the dry cleaners—are already here.” 

Isn’t most housing for sale, not lease?
“A lot of the newer loft conversions and developments that were going to be condos before the housing bubble are rentals. Also, while there isn’t much new inventory, there are a lot of properties on the secondary market selling at affordable prices.” 

Why would I want to raise kids here?
“If you work here, you’re going to have more time with your kids. Many parents leaving work can look forward to a five-minute bus ride or a leisurely walk home instead of a three-hour commute back to the suburbs.” 

Will my friends ever visit me?
“Absolutely. You’ll have friends visiting you from all over Southern California because, in downtown, you’re at the center of everything.”

Does it get loud living above restaurants and bars?
“Occasionally it does. My reaction is, ‘Great, there’s life on the street.’ We live in a dense urban environment and it’s not for everybody. If you want a quiet neighborhood, go live in Hidden Hills.”

Photograph courtesy flickr/nadiakovacs